"We Walk by Faith and Not By Sight."
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Sr. Rosa Ines, CFR
These words have been echoing again and again through my mind this past week. A sense of challenge, or perhaps of a call, accompanies them. It is Lent: a time to prepare for the holiest days of the year, when we mystically relive the redemption wrought for love of us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These mysteries – really, the paschal mystery – have a much deeper tone to them this year.
The entire world is looking at death and suffering straight in the eye. A world that would avoid the reality of suffering at any cost cannot run from what is happening. To our modern world this realization, joined with the fact that we have very little control over it, is shocking. Now I must admit to the fact that I too have felt a fear, worry, and uncertainty seeing all that is happening. I am not immune to this human response!
So I found myself, in some sense, in the same boat as our world: afraid and uncertain. And then again, St. Paul’s words played through my mind: “We walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) (What follows are the thoughts and prayers that proceeded this verse.)
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God and true man, gave His life – “was crucified, died, and was buried.” I believe that He did not have his life taken from him but He “laid it down freely and of his own accord.” Every moment, every pain and wound of His passion was fully and totally intentional. All of this out of an immense love for every soul that had and ever will exist! He wholeheartedly did this out of a burning desire for the salvation of every human soul, even my own little soul! And then, I believe that He rose from the dead! By His obedience and love He won for us the greatest gift of all: eternal life! This death, this illness, this suffering we all fear – it is already conquered! It does not have the final word! Would that I could live this truth! Would that I, I who just gave my life in my First Profession of Vows on Laetare Sunday—March 22, 2020 to “live the Gospel more intensely”, live this good news with an intense confidence. Would that I, and please God many souls, be a consolation to our dear Lord at this time.
God’s will is known through the circumstances in which He permits us to find ourselves in. This is, with all its sacrifices and pains, the circumstance that He is allowing our world to live. How His own heart must be breaking! He did not will suffering when He created us. He longs for us, suffers for each of us to be with Him forever… How His heart must break to see the sorrow and pain we have allowed and brought upon ourselves!
Now, perhaps the greatest pain, and most mysterious in some ways, is the inability to receive, for the most part, the sacraments at this time. An Easter without Mass? A Holy Week without the indescribably beautiful Mass of the Lord’s Supper? This is a great pain and a pain that is not to be dulled, but may it be that we do not leave the Lord desolate and put to the side in our (and His!) pain! May it be that we truly, supernaturally, deeply have the grace to see the Lord’s good and holy will in this. May it be that we live by faith! We will not totally understand (this is where faith comes in) – and in faith we trust and accept.
Would that we put aside our trying to change what the Lord is allowing, what is truly out of our hands, and instead accept it as coming from His hands. Instead of dividing ourselves in our pain, may we unite our pain to that of the whole Church and of our dear Lord’s heart. No one desires this to be happening, even our good Lord. He allows it, yes, because he sees a greater good that will come of it; but He, in a way we cannot even imagine, is also suffering over the pain of His sons and daughters. Instead of casting blame on one another, pointing at each other, may we turn our one gaze to the Lord and by our faith and a “peace which surpasses all understanding” point the world to turn back toward the Lord.
Thus, in all of this I keep thinking: “What if I was to truly, supernaturally, accept this cross of pain, death, separation, loneliness, inability to receive the sacraments – this cross which the whole world is experiencing – with a deep, loving, filial faith and trust? (A faith that is full of “assurance of what is hoped for and conviction about the things that cannot be seen.” (Hebrews 1:11)) Would this not be so pleasing, so consoling to our loving Father? Would this not show him the response of a loving, trusting little child? What greater gift could I give him during this suffering than to console His heart and to bring souls to him at the same time? Would this surrender to what He is allowing not console the heart of any earthly father, but most especially our heavenly Father? Would I then, though not sacramentally, be no less united to Him, one and at rest with Him in His holy will? I would be giving Him a gift and receiving one as well!”
May it be so by our Lord’s grace! May He, at the dawn of this coming Easter hear the words of the Exultet coming forth from my heart all the louder – louder than He has ever heard them before – “O, happy fault, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” May He hear this sacrifice of praise come forth from my heart and many others (and perhaps the gift of my sacrifice will enkindle this praise and love in the heart of another!) rooted firmly in the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, neither trial, nor distress, nor persecution, nor hunger, nor nakedness, nor the sword. Yet, in all this, we are more than conquerors because of Him who has loved us! (cf. Romans 8:35) For “death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
“In the land of my exile I praise Him, and show His power
and majesty to a sinful nation.”
- Tobit 13:7
“O, how pleasing to Me is living faith!
Tell all that I demand that they live in the spirit of faith…
Most dear to Me is the soul that strongly believes in My goodness
and has complete trust in Me.
I heap My confidence upon it and give it all it asks.”
- Jesus to St. Faustina